I feel like I will need to start a home journal to document all the things we have done for the house, so that in many years we will still have record of what happened in the distant past. In the meantime I think I'll just record a few things here.
Door locks - the front and back doors both got their knob and deadbolt locks replaced during the first week after we moved in. Not a cheap job - almost $500! Normally they'd just have been rekeyed (cheaper), but the locks were a bit old (the knob on the front door didn't even lock; it still slid open even when locked). So that's done, and hopefully won't have to be redone for a long time.
Casement window hardware - I installed all 4 windows' worth of it this month! My parents and Chuck urged me to call a handyman contractor and have them come install, but when I called one service they quoted me just over $200 ($125 for first hour, $85 for additional hours, with 2 hours minimum), which was way more than I was willing to toss out unless I really needed them. I did some internet searching and fiddled with the windows a bit until I overcame the only major hurdle: removing the sill protector so I could access the hardware and its mounting screws. It turned out that the sill protectors were made of a tough vinyl piece that snapped onto some C-shaped metal brackets with a small lip on the underside - it had to be pried up at the lip to get the edge over the C-brackets before it could be removed. Once that was done, it was just a matter of detaching the arms from the window itself and removing the screws, cleaning up a bit, and mounting and attaching the new hardware. Well, with the exception of one window, whose current hardware arm had started bending the wrong way - it had to be forced open enough to remove the sill protector, then the arm had to be knocked back to bending the right way (it couldn't bend any further in the wrong direction, though it certainly looked like someone had tried to force it before me due to how much metal was bent overall) using a hammer (I probably should have protected the window a bit more before basically aiming a hammer in its general direction, but no harm...) before I could finish detaching everything.
Kitchen sink drain - our kitchen sink drain, when we moved in, was a pretty ghetto affair. It was made of some wretched plastic that probably looked terrible when it was installed, which I'm sure was a decade ago if not more. More importantly, it had started to leak somewhere. In retrospect, it was probably not the drain assembly itself but the tailpiece attaching it to the trap, but I really didn't mind the excuse to replace the ghetto drain with something stainless steel. So we ventured to Home Depot after dinner and got a new drain assembly, plus some plumber's putty and a pipe wrench. Chuck and I both hunkered down by the sink and set to wrestling it apart, the first bad sign being that the plumbing was almost immediately jostled out of the wall where it was attached to the waste line. We set that aside and managed to removed the old ghetto drain and pop in the new one, only to find that the tailpiece, which is supposed to be flanged, was in fact just a piece of PVC pipe cut to length - without a flange, it just popped out of the drain bottom. In addition, the piece was too long for the new drain (better than too short, I guess!), and as ti was too late to return to the Deopt for a proper piece, it had to be cut down to size with a hacksaw. Once that was complete, I attempted to get the pipe back into the waste line, and reattach the whole mess; again, though, without the flange on the tailpiece, everything just wanted to pop out. The pipe to the wasteline didn't want to stay in either - gravity was working against both attachment points. I just rested the trap on top of a tall bottle and asked Chuck to pick up the flanged tailpiece the next day along with some pipe sealant. The next night I put in the correct tailpiece, then detached the waste line coupling, and then reattached it with the undersink plumbing in place with a load of pipe sealant and tightened it up snugly. So far it hasn't caused any more trouble, but it seems like the plumbing shouldn't be jostled too hard lest the waste line attachment come loose again.
Grass seeding - Chuck bought bag after bag after bag of grass seed/fertilizer combo (the green sawdusty stuff) to get the backyard a bit greener. The previous owners had a dog, and I suspect it was left in the backyard for long periods alone, which probably caused it to pace and wear down a bit of a rut in a few places. Other spots were just sparse - the yard has a decent amount of shade. Chuck also had to water it just about every day per the use instructions, but it just snowed yesterday, so hopefully we'll get enough precipitation in the coming months to keep it protected and hydrated til spring, and we'll have a slightly greener space to show for it.
Tree removal - there was a big ol' pine tree right next to the corner of the porch, off to the left if you're facing out the front door. Its branches were touching the porch and roof, and just overall it was really too close to the house even if it was relatively far from the foundation. We paid about $350 and got the whole thing taken down - it only took about 30 minutes to chop it down to the stump; we had to wait a day for the stump to get mulched, but otherwise it was a pretty quick job. It really was a pretty pine tree, but it was just hazardous enough to be a concern we had to address.
Those are the major bits we took care of in November!